Our Team Comprises Experts from Across the Globe
Gary Palin is a social entrepreneur and senior lecturer of entrepreneurship with a combination of over 30 years experience in both the academic and entrepreneurial communities.
He founded the Entrepreneurship Education Initiative at NC State University in 1993 and served as the executive director until 2008. Palin was a faculty member of the NC State College of Management for 17 years. He also guided the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Elon University as the executive director from 2008 through 2012 with a resulting enrollment growth of over 1200%.
Palin’s areas of expertise include new venture development, social entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship training and venture growth.
He was a founding member of the MIT Global Startup Workshop Board of Advisors, founder of the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium, founder of the Entrepreneurship and Education Network and a participant in the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, Academy of Management, International Council for Small Business, North Carolina Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs.
Palin has been named a top 25 entrepreneurship education global thought leader by Enterprise Educators UK and a recipient of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award from the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence. He has mentored thousands of students and alumni, guided a student to the first place award at the MIT Global Startup Workshop elevator pitch competition in Seoul, Korea and guided 3 students to the first, second and third place awards at the third annual Next Generation Entrepreneur Forum, hosted by the International University of Monaco.
Palin has served as Director of NC State University’s Small Business Technology and Development Center where he assisted hundreds of business launches, expansions, and acquisitions. He has developed executive education programs in business planning and expansion, opportunity identification, new venture launches, and technology commercialization. He has consulted for numerous entrepreneurial ventures and also with major corporations such as Texas Instruments, FMC Corporation, and Thomas Register. Palin serves on a number of high growth company advisory boards.
Michael Bak is an entrepreneur focused with exploring how technology can be used to improve people’s everyday lives and the commercial opportunities that emerge from the right use at the right time in the right market.
He is currently a project director for Rainmaking Innovation, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, a global innovation consultancy working with some of the world’s most forward thinking corporations and governments to find and forge the path of disruptive innovation across industries and ecosystems.
Bak is an active public speaker who is also highly engaged in the #CPHFTW Danish startup community, a grassroots and nonprofit organization representing and working for the tech startups in Denmark and the Öresund Region. He is a widely sought advisor and mentor for young startups. Bak’s background includes being a founder and CEO of Onomondo and former CEO of Venture Cup, the biggest business plan competition in Northern Europe.
Bak serves on several Advisory Boards related to entrepreneurship and growth. He has a Masters degree in Strategic Communication from Aalborg University and leadership experience from telecom, medico, web events and rare metal industries.
Professor Christina Benson
Christina Benson, J.D., M.B.A., is an associate professor of business law and ethics, received a bachelor’s degree with distinction in communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a juris doctorate with Honors from the UNC School of Law and an M.B.A. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill.
Prior to arriving in academia, she practiced law for 10 years in the Washington D.C. offices of several major international law firms (including White & Case LLP, Hunton & Williams LLP and Arent Fox PLLC), where she specialized in International Trade and Cross-border business transactions. Benson also served in the Rules Division of the World Trade Organization Secretariat (WTO) in Geneva, and has advised numerous foreign government ministries in their free trade agreement negotiations with the United States.
Her research interests include international trade and commerce, economic development, international dispute resolution, corporate social responsibility, sustainable business initiatives, business ethics, World Trade Organization, and regional free trade and investment agreements.
Ryan Budden is the founder of GreekCheck, a mobile application to increase communication and organization while decreasing social host liability. He brings a global perspective to all of his endeavors having been born in Australia and raised in Asia moving from Hong Kong to Singapore, Shanghai and Korea before coming to the USA to attend high school and college.
Budden is a recent graduate from Elon University with numerous academic accolades, majoring in entrepreneurship. He exhibited strong leadership skills as the Elon student class president for two consecutive years. He also served as vice president and then president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity while simultaneously pursuing multiple entrepreneurial activities.
Budden has a contagious passion for entrepreneurship along with a mission to help young adults realize their potential and dreams. He is committed to guiding them to make the first and scariest step of going against the flow after graduation. Budden’s colleagues view him as an ‘idea guy’ with a keen sense of strategic planning along with an ability to successfully execute.
Witnessing numerous social inequalities and injustices as a child left a deep impression. A resulting focus is to assist the launch and growth of social enterprises and truly deliver value to everyone through the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium providing lasting social impact on a global scale.
Elizabeth Greenberg is an entrepreneur, content marketer, blogger, and avid equestrian. She started her business, Non-Scents Flowers, after a close friend was hospitalized with thyroid cancer and she learned that live flowers weren’t allowed in certain hospital units. Today, Non-Scents ships nationwide and employs refugee women while helping kids and adults who are fighting potentially terminal illnesses.
Greenberg graduated Elon University with a degree in entrepreneurship and marketing. She has also started her personal blogs, Be[You] and EFG Equine, and writes on topics related to fitness, healthy eating, fashion, beauty, and equestrian sport.
Dan Keller is a University of Southern Maine graduate and an entrepreneur focused on generational gap education. Born and raised in Southeast Michigan in a suburb of Detroit, he had firsthand exposure to the economic collapse in 2007-2008 that caused both the housing and automotive crises to cripple his beloved home state. Exposure to the volatility of the working world permanently impacted his risk behavior and in turn contributed to the decision to pursue the study of entrepreneurship.
Keller was voted by the faculty at the University of Southern Maine as the outstanding entrepreneurship student of the 2016 graduating class and was the recipient of the Award of Academic Excellence for his studies of entrepreneurship. He was recruited to be a tutor and teacher’s assistant for the university’s globally recognized economics department, utilizing his leadership skills to propel his peers to achieve success.
He has real-world application of his studies driving a passion for spreading knowledge and helping others achieve success on all levels. Utilizing the entrepreneurial thought process in his professional life has allowed him to excel within the workplace. Keller aspires to be a conduit for this knowledge to help his millennial peers achieve personal success.
Timothy Moore is multi-generational relations expert and an accomplished author and speaker with over three decades of experience in marketing, sales, and training. He is the owner and principal of the sales consultancy “Dancing Elephants” Sales Training and is Editor of the online daily magazine Carolina Business Connection in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region.
Moore’s experience in sales and training spans over thirty years and numerous Fortune 500 companies, including PepsiCo, Gillette, Dow Chemical, and L’Oreal USA.
At Generational Insights, Moore is part of a team that has become the leading voice on the impact of generational differences on sales, marketing, and management. He combines the research of Generational Insight with his own professional experience, in addition to observations of client practices, to provide generational strategies and solutions for this rapidly changing world.
Moore has written articles on sales and training and teaches classes and seminars in sales at universities and community colleges. He is contributing author of the book Six Secrets of Sales Magnets. He has prepared reports and presentations for companies and organizations across the country. His presentations benefit from his years of hands on know-how as well as his great sense of humor.
Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Elon University in North Carolina, where he served as student body president. He is a board member of the Elon Alumni Association and a member of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Recently he was honored by Elon University as an alumnus who has achieved scholarly distinction in his field and inducted into the national honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. Moore is considered a member of the “Global Network of the Best and Brightest!”
When not working, Moore spends his free time traveling the world, obsessively playing his harmonica or learning to play his mandolin and fiddle. He is one of about 80 million Baby Boomers who are still busy changing the world.
Lewdmila Pavlova is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of TimePad, a web service for event management based in Moscow, Russia. TimePad is the leading service in Russia for the organization of events and sale of electronic tickets where more than 250,000 people every month are recorded and participate in events with the help of TimePad.
She previously was the project manager and a founding member of the Business Incubator at the Moscow Higher School of Economics University from which she holds a BS in Economics and Finance. She was instrumental in building the team which organizes various entrepreneurship supporting events, including business plan competitions, business games, educational programs and workshops. She also holds a Masters degree at the Moscow International College of Economics and Finance.
Professor Michael Rodriguez
For 20 years Dr. Rodriguez has focused on helping customer focused organizations improve their sales process and achieve business goals by leveraging technology in the form of CRM, Social and Mobile solutions. His work focuses on helping sales and marketing leaders answer the following questions: – How can I improve productivity within my salesforce? – How can I increase collaboration and alignment between sales and other customer facing departments? – How can I develop a well defined sales process in my organization? – How can I build and develop today’s sales leader?
Dr. Rodriguez has coached over 1,000 sales professionals in B2B, complex sales and written over 20 articles focused on the impact sales technology has on sales process and sales performance. Dr. Rodriguez was a Director of one of the Top University Sales Programs in the nation and has in depth knowledge of working and training the Millennial Generation. He won over a dozen national Role Play and ePitch Sales Competitions.
His work has been published in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing and Journal of Business to Business Marketing. He also worked on Wall Street selling market data and trading platforms to investment banks, asset managers, and hedge funds.
Erika Rosenthal is the Interim Chief Marketing Officer for COR Medical Technologies. Previously, she was Senior Vice President of Marketing for Okyanos Heart Institute and the Laser Spine Institute (LSI), and Vice President and Executive Director running LSI’s Ambulatory Surgical Center in Philadelphia.
Rosenthal developed a chain of medical spas that were included in the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the United States. The company was named Top Medical Spa Chain in the U.S. by Day Spa Magazine while she was President and Chief Executive Officer.
As a respected healthcare advocate and industry spokesperson, Rosenthal has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fortune Magazine, Health Magazine and Health. She has also made multiple appearances on MSNBC, CNN, The WB, ABC, NBC and CBS. In addition to healthcare, Rosenthal served in executive roles for Sprint Corporation and Bell + Howell. She is also a former Marketing and Branding instructor for the University of California – Irvine and served on the faculty advisory board.
Rosenthal has a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s in Digital Marketing from the University of San Francisco. She completed executive education programs at Wharton School of Business and at Cornell University. Rosenthal has lived or worked in six countries. She has a passion for healthcare and enjoys spending time with her family and cycling.
Brian Serow is a technology sales professional based out of New York City. After graduating cum laude from Elon University with majors in entrepreneurship and marketing with a sales focus, Serow joined NetSuite, a leader in the cloud ERP space. A top performer with an average deal size in the six figures, he spent nearly 3 of 3.5 successful years at NetSuite as an account executive, working with retailers as they improved their financial, inventory, customer and commerce processes.
Serow recently joined Grovo, the fastest growing startup in the workplace learning space and a company largely driven by a millennial workface. At Grovo, he works with companies between 500 and 5,000 employees as they seek to drive impactful behavior change, retention and employee engagement at their organizations.
During his years at Elon University Love School of Business, Serow, a Doherty Scholar, received numerous academic accolades and exhibited strong leadership skills as he served as the president of the student entrepreneurship organization, director of The Elon Network student networking event and the undergraduate advisor to the Love School of Business Board of Advisors.
Serow blended his entrepreneurship and sales professional training to capture first place at the 2011 MIT Global Startup Workshop in Seoul, South Korea. He also received honors and recognition while participating successfully in the Elon Sales Team and the Love School of Business Case Competition Team.
A distinguished consultant, Gary Tomlinson puts his lifelong learning and 40+ years of experience to work helping senior executives discover and apply “execution.” Designed to bridge the huge gap between planning and implementation, Tomlinson’s unique approach has helped guide many organizations on the journey to master execution as a competency. As a founding member of the Keyne Institute, he employs the KeyneLink process to help clients successfully clarify and achieve their strategic objectives year after year.
Having founded six successful businesses, Tomlinson is well versed in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, organizational execution, and communication; and he speaks regularly on such subjects, including lecturing at North Carolina State University’s College of Management for over 28 years. His favorite keynote topics include: Strategy Rich, Execution Poor – Discovering Execution, Art of Telling – Communicating Your Way to the Top, and Making Change When Change is Hard. At the core of each talk, Tomlinson’s guiding mission is that the golden rule not only makes good moral sense, but it makes good business sense too.
Tomlinson is a founding board member of Comfort Zone Camp of North Carolina, a bereavement camp for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver.
After earning a Bachelor of Science from Randolph-Macon College, Tomlinson became a Certified Cardiac Technician (full-paramedic) through Eastern Virginia Medical School. Today, he and his wife, Sara, live in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Christina Valkanoff is an award winning real estate broker serving both buyers and sellers in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Valkanoff has specialized in helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. In 2001, Christina Valkanoff, an award winning industry leader and veteran real estate broker, founded The Christina Valkanoff Realty Group. CVRG prides themselves on being one of the most unique and service-oriented real estate teams around.
CVRG bases its business on honesty, integrity and experience. Valkanoff believes in strong, long term relationships and is highly committed to helping clients achieve their goals by making the process of home buying and selling as easy and seamless as possible. She has had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of clients including first-time home buyers, luxury-home buyers, relocating professionals, growing families, and investors.
Robert Warren is an educator, an entrepreneur and an individual whose passion is helping other people and their businesses succeed. He is the founder and Managing Director of Mean Eyed Cat Venture Labs in Manitoba, Canada.
A Winnipegger, born and raised, Warren earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Manitoba and his Masters of Business Administration degree from Syracuse University in New York. After completing his degree, he worked in New York, D.C., and North Dakota before being hired by the University of Manitoba to develop programs for the Faculty of Management.
Over the last 20 years, Warren has dedicated himself to teaching graduate and undergraduate students in such courses as “Retail and Channel Management”, “Internet Marketing” and “Consumer Behavior”. His ability to educate, mentor and coach students taking “New Venture Analysis” through their participation in business plan competitions around the world resulted in his student teams attaining more than 50 first place finishes, with numerous groups landing in top five positions.
During his time at the University of Manitoba, he also developed what is now known as the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship which delivered programs for Asper School of Business students, provided support for local business owners and created outreach programs for Manitoba youth. He has shared his expertise at universities and conferences around the world, as both a sessional instructor and a guest speaker, and he became a well-respected instructor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Warren worked for the Province of Manitoba for a year, helping to design financial support programs for new and existing local businesses. He is frequently sought out by entrepreneurs and small-to-medium sized businesses for consultation, and he continues to be a reference for local and national media on business related issues.
Laura Zavelson is the CFO/COO of Edufii, a powerful mobile educational tool that pulls all your learning (video, notes, questions, feedback) to a private personal or team space and adds a powerful communication and social layer that increases engagement. Our first vertical is coaching and athletics.
Prior to returning to startup land, Zavelson served as an Entrepreneur in Residence, developing curriculum and teaching undergraduate and MBA students at Elon University and at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was also a founding member of the team that built the Launch Venture Accelerator at UNC — named the number 2 University-Based accelerator in the United States.
Zavelson successfully founded, led and exited two companies — Calliope, an award winning branding and marketing firm, and ViASIC (now Triad Semiconductor), which makes design software for digital and mixed signal semiconductors. Earlier in her career she led a BD team at Guidant Corp. and was a key player in product development strategy at Cordis Corp. (now JNJ).